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How August has become the new September in MLB

One year ago, the Yankees plugged both Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez into their lineup. Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

It was a year ago this weekend that New York Yankees fans got their first glimpse of Aaron Judge, and what a debut it was. Tyler Austin and Judge became the first teammates in major league history to hit back-to-back homers in their first major league at-bats, leading the Yankees past the Rays and instilling some confidence that the restructuring of the franchise would proceed on course.

Judge struggled to a .179 batting average and struck out in exactly half of his 84 at-bats in 2016, but the extended audition provided valuable training for the 25-year-old outfielder who, as Bryce Harper put it at the All-Star Game, has become "much-watch TV."

The timing of Judge's promotion, and other August debuts as well, was no accident. Tradition says September is the time for rookies get their first taste of The Show, yet the trend is for teams to punch those tickets a little earlier.